AS I understand it, our nobility agreed to the terms of the Treaty of Union as it was laid out in 1707. Parts of those terms were that the Scottish Government would be dissolved; the English Government would be dissolved; and a new Government of Britain, with a written Constitution, would be set up in Westminster to govern the new Union of Great Britain. That never happened.
What actually happened was that the Scottish Government was dissolved but the English Government was never dissolved. A Government of Great Britain with a written Constitution – as per the agreed terms of the Act and Treaty of Union – was never set up and all that happened was the Scottish nobles went to London and occupied seats in the English Parliament. The “English” Parliament was never given any right to rule over Scotland.
Wouldn’t it be great if the Scottish Government was now to take the Westminster Government to the European Court – while still part of the EU – and make the challenge that the English Government has no right to govern Scotland since the agreed terms of the Treaty of Union were never implemented?
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AS readers of this newspaper will know the Scottish Socialist Party has long been campaigning for a £10/hour National Living Wage. For that is the rate the Government admits a worker needs to earn in order to pay their own way and stop relying on handouts like tax credits, housing benefit or free school meals.
So today’s announcement by the Department for Business that the National Living Wage is now £7.50/hour for those aged over 25 provides little cause for celebration to the 475,000 people in Scotland enduring “poverty pay”. The new National Living Wage is simply not enough. Indeed, it is £100/week less than “enough”, according to the Government’s own calculations for a 40-hour week.
Not that most people on the National Living Wage are working 40 hours a week. With two or three part-time, zero-hour contract jobs most will more likely be working around 30 hours.
Millions across Britain now rely on such insecure and poorly paid employment. This has a debilitating effect on them and on the economy as a whole, as this suppression of wage rates inhibits demand and therefore economic growth.
Let 2017 be the year we celebrate the end of undignified poverty pay particularly where it is widespread in the care sector, retail, hospitality and administration. That would be something to celebrate.
Scottish Socialist Party Edinburgh
I ENJOYED David McKeen’s letter which urged Holyrood to focus on Scotland’s outlying regions (Free Travel for our Islanders would Strengthen Ties, The National, March 31).
I strongly concur with his view that a bridge to Orkney is required to the extent that I would urge the Scottish Government to change policy in reducing the scale of a proposed dual carriageway between Perth and Inverness while, within the same proposed timescale, use some of the earmarked funding to build an Orkney bridge and also create a road around (or a bridge over) the Berriedale Braes section, a section barely suitable for current traffic never mind any increase.
My argument is this: that improvements to the very same A9 road north of Inverness are of equal importance considered alongside the proposed improvements southbound from Inverness to Perth.
The bridge would strengthen ties and also dramatically improve the fragile economies of the towns and villages along the less visited section of the A9 north of Inverness. And oh, what a boost for the economies of Orkney and Shetland. Their produce, goods and services could travel entirely by road, or, in Shetland’s case, with a dramatically shortened sea crossing.
MYSELF and my family have supported both the SNP and independence for too many years to count. However since the 2014 referendum I have increasingly been coming round to the idea of secession from the UK.
It is heartening to read in your letters pages that others are now also espousing a Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI).
This talk about equal partners has never been true and I, for one, am happy to declare UDI. I will be on the frontline with Nicola when she finally sees that this is the only course left.
Prof Alyson Kettles (retired)
I AGREE absolutely with the comments made by David Low, that the economic case for independence has to be made, and made honestly, but I am not sure how he, or anybody else, can discuss Scotland’s deficit honestly (Indy debate needs hard truth, The National, March 31).
I run a stall that tours agricultural shows talking about governance and independence. Each year we take the concerns the public raise and research them. My research is based on government figures, statements, legislation, etc, and for the past month I have been examining GERS which seems to be the source most people use in discussing Scotland’s perceived deficit.
I could find no figures in three main areas: GDP, balance of payments and insurance. On the fourth, taxation, I gather Revenue Scotland encountered much the same problems as I, and even with their greater resources are still not sure they have complete data.
I found that the export figures rely on forms sent out to firms known to have an export bias. I could find no figures on sample size or the return rate and found that companies are not obliged to supply data. Overall estimates are based on an assumption that Scottish inputs can be calculated in line with the population ratio. Now I am not an economist and I may have got it wrong, but someone is going to have to convince me that this is the kind of basis on which it is possible to form an honest opinion on anything whatsoever, and especially about something as vital as the present and future economy of a country.
Dot Jessiman Turriff
MY concern now is not that Scots will avoid voting for independence but that the combined forces under the control of Westminster, will again subvert the will of the people.
It is imperative that both the UN and the EU are asked to monitor our referendum.
You know, the same way they do in dodgy African countries where the honesty of the controlling government simply cannot be trusted.